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Coca-Cola Study on Exercise vs. Sugar Was Fixed? NYT Says So

Image: Coca-Cola Study on Exercise vs. Sugar Was Fixed? NYT Says So
A man gets some exercise while striding past a reflection of a Coca-Cola delivery truck in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Aug 2015 06:24 AM

Coca-Cola is accused by The New York Times of backing a nonprofit organization study that shifted the focus on weight loss efforts to exercise rather than cutting sugar and calories.

The soft drink giant, though, pushed back on the Times article on Monday, saying the newspaper misrepresented its support for Global Energy Balance Network.

In a story on Sunday, the Times quoted from a video produced by the nonprofit stating that there was an over-emphasis on eating in an effort to lose weight.

"Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, 'Oh they're eating too much, eating too much, eating too much' – blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on," said Steven N. Blair, the Global Energy Balance Network vice president, in the video, noted the Times.

"And there's really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause," said Blair.

The Times pointed out that according to open record laws, Coca-Cola gave $1.5 million in 2014 to start the Global Energy Balance Network. It noted that it has paid two of the nonprofits founding members, Blair, a professor at the University of South Carolina, and Gregory A. Hand, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, $4 million since 2008 on other projects.

"Records show that the network's website, gebn.org, is registered to Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, and the company is also listed as the site's administrator," wrote Anahad O'Connor of the Times. "The group's president, James O. Hill, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said Coke had registered the website because the network's members did not know how."

Ed Hayes, chief technical officer for Coca-Cola, said in a statement on the company's website that he was "dismayed" by the Times, story, claiming it was an inaccurate portrayal of its support of the nonprofit.

"The story claimed Coke is funding scientific research to convince people that diets don't matter – only exercise. In fact, that is the complete opposite of our approach to business and well-being and nothing could be further from the truth," said Hayes.

Coca-Cola said it has funded research by the professors because "their type of research is critical to finding solutions to the global obesity crisis. At Coke, we believe that a balanced diet and regular exercise are two key ingredients for a healthy lifestyle and that is reflected in both our long-term and short-term business actions."

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Coca-Cola is accused by The New York Times of backing a nonprofit organization study that shifted the focus on weight loss efforts to exercise rather than cutting sugar and calories.
coca-cola, study, exercise, sugar, fixed, nyt
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2015-24-11
Tuesday, 11 Aug 2015 06:24 AM
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